Shaping Messages, One Client at a Time

For more than 26 years, I’ve learned the ins and outs of the publishing business. I did so in the service of others, which offers a host of protections. Sure, I worried from time to time about the security of my job, but for the most part, I was able to flourish and learn without the day-to-day worries of the entrepreneur.

That ended when I started my own business in April of this year.  The wolves arrived at my door quickly, and I scrambled to draw on the contacts and the years of business development experience I’d accumulated over my career. But most of all, to my surprise, what drove me most, and what made my business successful right away, was the confidence I had that I could take on virtually any project. I’m a book editor by trade, but editing is necessary in almost every realm of business.

The key to steady work, I quickly found, was in playing a role in helping companies shape their messages in virtually all media—for the web, in print, in videos (someone has to write all those scripts, right?), and even in marketing messages and proposals. I’ve often mused that human resources is the perfect career, because after all, every company needs human resources staff. But I’ve come to understand that the same is true of crafting quality messages and ensuring they are consistent and error-free. Every business needs these services, and so my marketing efforts to businesses run the gamut: architecture firms, plumbers, nursing homes, nail salons, pest-control services …

To that end, LinkedIn has been invaluable. I learned the ropes of using LinkedIn to find decision makers in a previous business development position. Since I’ve started my business, I’ve been able to network very effectively with LinkedIn, and I’m getting in front of the people who need my services—even if, in some cases, they need a bit of convincing.

LinkedIn ProFinder has been particularly helpful. I’ve gotten many terrific leads on opportunities and have learned that the early bird gets the worm, as ProFinder limits the number of proposals that can be submitted for any one opportunity. This is beneficial for the businesses invited to participate, of course, but it’s also beneficial for the business or individual who is seeking professional services. It can be overwhelming to receive twenty proposals! Having a few to choose from gives the RFP’s creator an opportunity to price shop a bit without combing through such an array of options. I’m also impressed by ProFinder’s single-field proposal mechanism, which forces you to elevator-pitch your company and doesn’t bog down recipients with attachments, PowerPoints, resumes, project plans, and who knows what else.

One of my first and best clients came to me via ProFinder. The post was requesting copywriting service for a single project, but after I spoke with my contact at the company one beautiful afternoon in May, it became clear that the content the company already had was excellent—it just needed editing, shaping, and revising to make it consistent with the company’s branding and the desired tone and voice. This one-off opportunity has grown into a long-term relationship, and my company now has the pleasure of serving this client as an out-of-house messaging consultant.

In October alone, I received six invitations to create proposals via ProFinder. I recommend it to friends and colleagues who also own their own small businesses, both for finding opportunities and for finding service providers. I’ve been connecting and networking with the help of LinkedIn for 10 years now, and I look forward to many more years of mutual benefits!

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